Crime Fiction Ian R. Macleod Great Wheel

ISBN 13: 9780151002931

Great Wheel

3.67 avg rating
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9780151002931: Great Wheel

Although Father John has lost his faith, he gamely administers medicine and prayers to the people of a Borderer town in what was once northern Africa. He wonders why so many of them are dying of bludrut-myeloid leukemia-and suspects that the koiyl leaf, chewed as an opiate, may be the reason. Investigating, the priest from Europe encouneters politics and poverty, finds the love of a Borderer woman, succumbs to the power of a drug, questions a first world grown too perfect in its biotechnology-and at last makes his peace with the pain of personal loss.

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About the Author:

an R. MacLeod (born 1956) is a British science fiction and fantasy writer. He was born in Solihull near Birmingham. He studied law and worked as a civil servant before going freelance in early 1990es soon after he started publishing stories, attracting critical praise and awards nominations. He is the author of the novels The Light Ages and The House of Storms, which are set in an alternate universe nineteenth century England, where aether, a substance that can be controlled by the mind, has ossified English society into guilds and has retarded technological progress. MacLeod's debut novel, The Great Wheel, was published in 1997, and won the Locus Award for Best First novel. MacLeod's novella The Summer Isles (Asimov's Science Fiction Oct/Nov 1998) won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for and the World Fantasy Award. It is an alternate history where Britain, having been defeated in the World War I, develops its own form of fascism in 1930s. The narrator is a closeted homosexual Oxford historian who had known the leader in youth. It was written as a novel, which however could not sell; MacLeod published the cut version, with the full-length version only being published in a limited edition in 2005. This novel version also won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, thus becoming the only story to win the same award twice in two differing formats, novel and novella. MacLeod won the World Fantasy Award again in for his 2000 novelette The Chop Girl. His shorter fiction has been collected in Voyages by Starlight, Breathmoss and Other Exhalations and Past Magic.

From Kirkus Reviews:

By about 2170, the Endless City occupies the entire coast of North Africa; its Borderers live in poverty and squalor under a perpetual cloud generated by global warming and climate control. Though Father John Alston (``Fatoo''), of the Pandera presbytery, has lost much of his faith, he continues to offer the Borderers spiritual comfort and such medical aid as much as he is able (his own implants keep him safe from Borderer ailments, but the reverse isn't true). The Borderers chew a leaf, koiyl, similar to coca, that John suspects may cause cancer. Helped by Laurie Kalmar, a European-educated Borderer computer-net expert, he finds that the leaf from one particular source is dangerously radioactive. After he and Laurie become lovers, John visits home--where his once- genius brother, Hal, having monkeyed with his implants, has lain in a deathly coma for 20 years--and decides to leave the priesthood. Upon his return to the Endless City, his relationship with Laurie collapses; he tracks down the distribution of the deadly koiyl, which he begins to use himself, falls ill, returns home, recovers, allows Hal to die and, recognizing that his life is a spiritual journey, recovers his faith. Despite the highly unlikely extrapolation from now to then, especially the improbably secular North Africans: a thoughtful, sometimes wrenching, noteworthy debut. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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